This month’s Life on Mission challenge is to have a greater understanding of what God is calling us to when we practice hospitality. Yes, it can be generously inviting guests into your home, perhaps to share a meal and build relationships. But it is also loving strangers. And not just in your home. Remember, living a life on mission, encompasses all aspects of life, from your neighborhood to your workplace, to where you play, and everything between. This month let’s learn to pay attention to the Spirit at work all around us and show true hospitality to the strangers in our midst.
- Week 1: (Having a New Testament perspective of Hospitality) For many of us in this little part of the world, the word “hospitality” evokes images of a comfortable living room, a set dinner table, good food, beautiful décor, and a kind host or hostess. When thinking of hospitality, most likely, we associate it with being in a home. But what if we started thinking of hospitality in the sense that the writers of the New Testament used it? Curious? We hope so! The Greek definition of hospitality used in the New Testament is generally understood to mean “fond of and generous to guests” AND “to entertain and love strangers.” Strangers. Let that settle in. This week look at the following passages and surrounding verses (Romans 12:13, 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, and 1 Peter 4:9) and ask God to make it known how you can show true hospitality to those you live, work, and play alongside.
- Week 2: (Hospitality Where You Live) As a reminder, the definition of hospitality in the New Testament is to be generous and fond of guests AND loving and entertaining to strangers. For many, inviting people they know into their home can be a daunting idea, much less strangers! Instead of focusing on the anxieties, we want to encourage you to think of a time that you were invited into someone’s home, and you knew they were fond of you, and they were generous towards you. What did that do for you? How did it make you feel? Have you ever been invited into a stranger’s home and felt loved? Consider what an incredible impact inviting someone into your home could have on them. Being generous and entertaining doesn’t have to be picture perfect or without flaws. It just has to be genuine. An overflow of understanding what Christ has done for you, so you want to love others in return and point them to Him by your actions. Set aside a date/time to invite someone over this month. It could be for dinner, for a cup of tea, or just to have kids get together to play. Focus on being generous and showing them love. **Side note: Maybe you physically cannot invite people to where you live right now – that is ok. Plan for it in the future and practice hospitality in other ways and places as you wait for the right time to practice it in your home.
- Week 3: (Hospitality Where You Work or Attend School) In Chapter 12 of Romans, we’re given clear instructions on what love in action looks like. Verse 13 says, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” This verse points out that loving people looks like sharing with fellow Christ-followers who are in need and being generous to strangers (remember from week one the definition of hospitality). This week, as you go about your daily routines at work and/or school, pay attention to anyone who has a need – regardless of how well you know them. Can you help meet that need your coworker or fellow student has? Notice if there is a tangible need like helping to open a locker or instruction on how to use the screen share feature in the zoom meeting. Also notice if there is a less tangible need – someone to listen or comfort or an opportunity to pray with them. Look at the people in your work and school spaces and practice hospitality by meeting a need this week.
- Week 4: (Hospitality in Your Play Spaces)Take a mental look (or pull out your calendar and take a physical look!) at your past month. Where are the places you “play” or where do you serve? This could be any activities you are involved outside your home and work or school responsibilities. When you think of spaces you “play,” it doesn’t have to just be a sports activity, or a board member role you fulfill. It could be the group of gamers you meet with weekly online. Or fellow parents you see at school events or in the daycare pickup line. Really take a moment to think through anyone you have interacted with during these times… Did you show hospitality to them? Or think of someone who may need a bit of hospitality. Ask God to give you wisdom to know how to be generous to them, to be fond of them, to love them better. And then the next time you see them or talk with them, do it. Remember how Christ has ALWAYS been hospitable to you.
- Week 5: (A Lesson in Hospitality) As we wrap up this month’s Life on Mission challenge to see Biblical hospitality in a new way, we would like to invite you to listen to or watch this sermon by Pastor Jon Tyson. This sermon was preached at The Village Church, Matt Chandler’s home church in June of last year. As you take the time to listen, ask the Spirit to reveal to you anything new He wants you to learn, or to remind you of a truth that you can take with you into the coming weeks. Also, we encourage you to talk with someone else after listening. Ask them what they thought, what they learned, what they may do differently and encourage one another to practice a true, biblical hospitality.
Watch here: Hospitality Amid Hostility – Sermons – Jon Tyson – 6/20/21 on Vimeo
Listen here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/0cj8y6Nwf4pQzXDXyGgoGA?si=8uXqw_fkRBGZs5j0nSjyFA Or here: Hospitality Amid Hostility | TVC Resources